Monday, September 17, 2018

Christie’s 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, October

This October during London’s Frieze Week, Christie’s will present the largest and most diverse selection of 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, two British masters of the 20th century. 

The group is led by Francis Bacon’s Figure in Movement (1972, estimate on request), held for 41 years in the prestigious collection of Magnus Konow. The work is a poignant meditation on human existence, expressed through the memory of Bacon’s muse and lover George Dyer, whose tragic suicide took place less than thirty-six hours before the opening of Bacon’s career-defining retrospective at the Grand Palais, and had a devastating impact upon the artist. Within Bacon’s oeuvre, Figure in Movement sits at the centre of the black triptychs. 

In addition, a collection of some of the earliest works on record by Bacon, comprises six pieces including his earliest surviving large-scale work, Painted Screen (circa 1930), a precursor to his famed triptychs. On loan to Tate, London, since 2009, the collection bears an outstanding provenance that includes Bacon’s first patron Eric Allden and his early artistic mentor Roy de Maistre. In the 1940s, five of the works entered the family collection of Francis Elek, who met Allden around this time; he acquired the sixth following de Maistre’s death in 1968.
Similarly, Lucian Freud’s early Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000), created when the artist was 19, also from the collection of Magnus Konow, is presented alongside a still-life celebrating the artist’s love for his wife Caroline Blackwood, and a 1980 portrait of his friend and lover Susanna Chancellor. Two of the first studies of Francis Bacon Freud created in 1951 are also included. Selected works from this group will be on view at Christie’s Hong Kong (4-7 September), Los Angeles (5-8 September), New York (15-18 September) and King Street from 28 September, ahead of the auction on 4 October 2018. 
In 1939, Francis Elek came to England from Czechoslovakia as part of a swimming team, and became separated from his family at the outbreak of conflict in Europe. It was whilst searching for them through the Red Cross after the war that he met Allden, and subsequently acquired the majority of the present collection in the late 1940s. The collection represents some of the very first works in Bacon’s catalogue raisonné, capturing the birth of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artistic voices. Collectively, they chronicle Bacon’s formative influences, blending his early interests in furniture design with the contemporary innovations of the European avant-garde. 

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Few works remain from this seminal period: in addition to Painted Screen (circa 1930, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) the present group includes the earliest surviving oil on canvas, 

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 Painting, (1929-30, estimate: £450,000-650,000), 

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while an early work on paper, Gouache (1929, estimate: £180,000-220,000), is testament to Bacon’s early fascination with interior architecture and design. 
Francis Bacon’s rugs shine a vital light on the relationship between art and design in his early practice, the present three belong to a group of just 12 surviving examples (All: Rug, circa 1929, estimate £70,000-100,000). Frequently hung on the wall like paintings, inspired perhaps by the tapestries of Jean Lurçat, their bold geometric designs owe much to Bacon’s interests in Synthetic Cubism and the Bauhaus movement, encountered during his time in Berlin and Paris between 1927 and 1928

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Francis Bacon, executed in 1951. 21½ x 16¾ in (54.7 x 43 cm). Estimate £500,000-700,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Francis Bacon, executed in 1951. 21½ x 16¾ in (54.7 x 43 cm). Estimate: £500,000-700,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London
Unseen in public until 2011, Francis Bacon by Lucian Freud (both 1951, estimates: £500,000-700,000) belong to an outstanding group of three studies that represent Freud’s first depictions of Bacon, the third was in the collection of R. B. Kitaj and sold by Christie’s in the estate sale of 2008 for £468,500, against an estimate of £100,000-150,000. The studies are among the most intimate records of one of the 20th century’s greatest artistic relationships. They depict Bacon in a spontaneous moment of characteristic irreverence: shirt and trousers unbuttoned, eyes downcast, hips flexed and chest bared. Freud found great inspiration in Bacon’s impulsive painterly language while Bacon appreciated his companion’s witty vitality. 

Left: Lucian Freud, Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000)
Right: Lucian Freud, Still Life with Zimmerlinde (circa 1950, estimate: £400,000-600,000)

Painted when Lucian Freud was just 19 years old, Man in a Striped Shirt (1939, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is a rare early work that bears witness to the young artist’s talent. Richard Chopping was a fellow student of the East Anglian School of Art in Dedham, and also a friend of Francis Bacon, appearing in the 1978 diptych Two Studies for Portrait of Richard Chopping. Freud’s painting is charged with his uncompromising eye for the specific, studying Chopping’s distinctive features with the intense focus typical of Freud’s earliest paintings. 
Executed in the early 1950s, Still Life with Zimmerlinde (circa 1950, estimate: £400,000-600,000) is an intimate study of a zimmerlinde, more commonly known in English as a house lime, dedicated to his second wife, Caroline Blackwood. One heart-shaped leaf dominates the composition, its serrated outline faithfully traced and its bright, backlit green surface exposing every vein. To the lower left, the image is cut short by a swathe of still-raw canvas in which Freud has written, in his distinctive rounded hand, ‘For Caroline / with all my love / Lucian’. 
Gifted by Lucian Freud to the current owner, Head of a Woman (circa 1980, estimate: £350,000-450,000) stands among the artist’s earliest depictions of Susanna Chancellor. Freud first met her when she was just seventeen years old and the two quickly fell into a passionate relationship that would continue in various guises until the artist’s death in 2011. However, it was not until nearly 20 years into their friendship that Freud would begin to depict Susanna, coinciding with a renewed focus on his familial circle. 


Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Figure in Movement, executed in 1972. 77⅞ x 58⅝ in (198 x 148 cm). Estimate: £15,000,000-20,000,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2018
Executed in 1972, Figure in Movement takes its place among an extraordinary group of works painted in the aftermath of George Dyer’s tragic death the previous year. In the hustle between figuration and abstraction, Bacon creates a vivid sense of the transition from life to death, transforming Dyer’s distinctive features into commentary on the fleeting nature of life. Figure in Movement sheds critical light on Bacon’s understanding of the human condition during this period. Laced with allusions to photography, literature, reportage and film, it is an attempt to visualise the ways in which figural traces continue to live in the mind: Dyer is simultaneously reincarnated and estranged, his likeness skewed to the point of ambiguity and mirrored imperfectly in billowing black. Included in Bacon’s 1983 touring retrospective in Japan, as well as his 2016 exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, Figure in Movement demonstrates the new artistic directions he pursued during the 1970s, with the period following Dyer’s death seeing a move away from the characterful portraits of Bacon’s 1960s Soho circle towards dark, existential meditations on mortality.

Christie’s: An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection

Christie’s has announced An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, will be offered in a dedicated evening and day sale in November as a highlight of its flagship 20th Century Week in New York. The collection of Barney A. Ebsworth represents an extraordinary achievement in the history of collecting — a singular assemblage of over 85 artworks that illuminates the rise of American art across the 20th century. Highlights of the collection include Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey, 1929, the most important work by the artist still in private hands (estimate in the region of $70 million), Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes (estimate in the region of $50 million) and Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape (estimate in the region of $60 million).

A global tour of highlights will commence in Paris 6-9 September, coinciding with La Biennale Paris, followed by highlight exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and culminating with the auction preview at Christie’s Rockefeller Galleries in New York. The tour in Paris will include works by Hopper, Pollock, de Kooning, Kline, Nadelman, Davis, Sheeler, O’Keeffe and Glackens. The collection is expected to realize in excess of $300 million.

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas, commented
Last season, Christie’s made the bold move of launching the $835 million Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller in Asia, underscoring our investment and deep commitment to collectors in this growing region. This season, Christie’s Paris will host the debut of this stunning collection for the global collecting community, positioning it in the heart of Europe and paying homage to Barney A. Ebsworth’s lifelong love affair with the city that first introduced him to great art. His unique journey as a collector resonates with the influence and art historical connections of Gertrude Stein’s Paris, and ultimately set a new high standard for the creation of a nuanced collection of 20thCentury Art that is without parallel in its exceptional depth and quality.”

As a tribute to the former Stieglitz gallery, Ebsworth bestowed the name “An American Place” on his home in Seattle, which was built in collaboration with architect Jim Olson and designed as a dialogue between art and architecture. Ebsworth’s credo in collecting was “quality, quality, quality,” and with that mindset he amassed the most comprehensive collection of American Modernism in private hands, with many works having been loaned to leading institutions throughout his years of ownership.
Hopper's "Chop Suey" is expected to fetch around $70 million.

A seminal composition within the landscape of American Modernism, Edward Hopper’s Chop Sueywas one of  Mr. Ebsworth’s most prized possessions (estimate in the region of $70 million). Possibly derived from a Cantonese phrase, tsap sui, meaning ‘odds and ends,’ chop suey referred not only to a low-cost stir-fry dish but, moreover, to a public destination where the societal fusion of different cultural elements of the modern city came together.

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As in his masterwork Nighthawks (1942, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois), Hopper’s 1929 painting Chop Suey distills the atmosphere of this everyday eatery into a cinematic scene that at once depicts an implicit narrative while creating clear allusions to broader themes of social isolation, gender roles and art historical tradition. While having its roots in the French Impressionist and Ashcan traditions of painting city life, Chop Suey incorporates a thoroughly modern play of light and color to capture a specific restaurant that the Hoppers frequented on the Upper West Side of New York.  The most important painting by Hopper left in private hands, Chop Suey epitomizes the psychologically complex meditations for which the artist is best known, while uniquely capturing the zeitgeist of New York during one of its most interesting eras of transition. Chop Suey was included in the groundbreaking retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris 2012-13, which broke attendance records for the location.

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Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape is a tour-de-force of 20th century painting (estimate in the region of $60 million). Executed at the height of the artist’s career in 1955, this large-scale canvas belongs to a small group of works that are well positioned among the most powerful paintings in American art. Measuring over five and a half feet tall, Woman as Landscape is a heroic painting that encompasses the painterly bravado and radical use of color that singled out de Kooning as a leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and one of the pre-eminent painters of his generation. The shocking female forms sensationalized the art world, energizing and scandalizing in equal measure, but his vivid brushwork came to represent the dramatic shift in art that occurred in the postwar years, a change that would alter the course of art history. Now firmly established as part of the 20th century art historical canon, many of de Kooning’s Woman paintings form the cornerstones of major international museum collections and as such, Woman as Landscape is one of the only paintings from this important period of the artist’s career to remain in private hands.

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Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes was executed in 1950 during the peak of his extraordinary creative output and is a central work to the artist’s oeuvre, demonstrating his new technique (estimate in the region of $50 million). It was these startling, original and accomplished paintings that, in Willem de Kooning's phrase, finally 'broke the ice' for American painting, completely revolutionizing it and in the process reshaping the entire history of 20th century art. The diverse, virtuosic and carefully controlled markmaking in Composition with Red Strokes represents the variety, subtlety and mystery that Pollock had achieved in his new language of paint. Displaying a fascinatingly dense, intricate and animated abstract surface, Composition with Red Strokes is one of the richest, most engaging and successfully resolved of all these famous works. Other works made by Pollock in this key period are held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

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Among the other Post-War highlights in the Collection are Joan Mitchell’s 12 Hawks at 3 O’clockcreated at a pivotal time when the artist’s abstraction reached new levels (estimate: $14-16 million),  

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Gray Rectangles by Jasper Johns, the first work by the artist to be acquired by the legendary collectors Victor and Sally Ganz (estimate: $20-30 million), and

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Franz Kline’s Painting (estimate: $5-7 million).

Ebsworth had a lasting friendship with Georgia O’Keeffe – she acted as a witness to his second marriage which took place at her Abiquiú home in New Mexico – who is represented in the Collection with  

Horn and Feather, 1937

Horn and Feather1937 (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000)

Beauford Delaney, 1901–1979 by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986) Pastel on paper, 1943, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation
and Beauford Delaney, 1943 (estimate: $200,000-300,000).

Additional works in the Collection by members of the Stieglitz Circle are  

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Stuart Davis’s Still Life in the Street (estimate: $500,000-700,000)

and Marsden Hartley’s Calm After Storm off Hurricane Island (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000).

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Among the finest examples ever to appear on the market from Precisionist artist Charles Sheeler is Catwalk, 1947, which once belonged to Nelson Rockefeller (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000).

Representing the Ashcan School is

William Glackens’ Café Lafayette (Portrait of Kay Laurel)which was Ebsworth’s first acquisition of American Art in 1972 (estimate: $250,000-350,000). Among several examples by the American artists in Gertrude Stein’s circle offered in the sale are Elie Nadelman’sDancing Figure (estimate: $600,000-800,000).

The Collection also includes extremely rare examples from important artists who infrequently appear on the market and are primarily held in museums, such as Patrick Henry Bruce’s Peinture/Nature Morte (estimate: $2,000,000-3,000,000 million), which was displayed alongside Hopper’s Chop Suey in the library. In total, the Collection includes a full range of price levels, with estimates starting at $100,000.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934, Barney A. Ebsworth was an entrepreneur and his success was self-made. He founded Clipper Cruise Line, among other cruise lines, the Intrav luxury travel business and was an angel investor in the stuffed-animal phenomenon Build-A-Bear Workshop. Ebsworth’s passion for art originated during his station with the US Army in France in 1956, when he made weekly trips to the Louvre.

Mr. Ebsworth was a renowned collector who gave generously over the years to the Seattle Art Museum as well as to many other museums and charitable institutions, including gifts of major early American works. He also devoted substantial time and financial resources in support of these institutions, including serving on the Board of the Seattle Art Museum. Ebsworth was named as one of the ‘World’s 200 Greatest Collectors’ and ‘America’s Top 100 Collectors’, and served as a board member or trustee for the Seattle Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, St. Louis, and the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey

De Young Museum 
November 17, 2018 through April 7, 2019 

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Woman with Mango Fruits," ca.  1889 Painted oak, 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 in.  (30 x 49 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1781 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Woman with Mango Fruits," ca. 1889 Painted oak, 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 in. (30 x 49 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1781 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) has announced Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey, debuting at the de Young museum on November 17. The first exhibition at FAMSF dedicated to the work of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) will explore two themes central to his career: the relationships that shaped his life and work, and his quest to understand spirituality, both his own and that of other cultures he encountered.

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Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Reclining Tahitian Women," 1894 Oil on canvas, 23 5/8 x 19 1/4 in. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1832 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Through an exceptional partnership with the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, more than sixty Gauguin works will be on view—ranging from oil paintings and works on paper to wood carvings and ceramics—alongside art of the Pacific Islands from the FAMSF collection. Combined, these works encompass distinctive phases of Gauguin’s career to show the development of his ideas, the scope of his oeuvre, and the inspiration he found in New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, and Tahiti.

"The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have the largest repository of works on paper in the western United States, including numerous works by Gauguin—among them, The Woman from Arles, one of his most important drawings,” says Melissa Buron, Director of the Art Division at FAMSF. “Putting these works on view with Gauguin’s stunning oil paintings provides an unprecedented opportunity for our collection to shine and take its place in the larger historical narrative.”

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey will feature works showing the deep influence that other artists, places, and relationships had on the arc of his career. Embarking on a profession in painting with no formal training, Gauguin was mentored by Impressionists including Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas. (In fact, as an avid collector himself, Gauguin originally owned two of the Pissarro paintings on view in the exhibition.) Later collaborations with Vincent van Gogh and Émile Bernard show experiments with Symbolism as Gauguin developed his own distinctive style of painting, using flat fields of bold color and dark outlines that in turn influenced artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the progression and scope of Gauguin’s work, from an early drawing of his wife, Mette Gad (ca. 1873), to better-known paintings inspired by his travels to Tahiti, such as 

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Tahitian Woman with a Flower (Vahine no te tiare), from 1891. Although Gauguin is best known as a painter and printmaker, the exhibition will also feature fifteen experimental ceramics and intricate wood carvings interspersed with period photography and excerpts from his own letters and writings.
Gauguin was greatly influenced by Pacific art and culture, from his time spent in the region en route to Tahiti in 1895.

 Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) Flowers and Cats, 1899 Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 27 15/16 in.  (92 x 71 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1835 Photograph by Ole Haupt, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) Flowers and Cats, 1899 Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 27 15/16 in. (92 x 71 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1835 Photograph by Ole Haupt, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Corresponding to this period of Gauguin’s travel and work in the Pacific, carvings and images from New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, and Tahiti will be on view from FAMSF’s own extensive holdings in Oceanic arts.

Works such as the striking Māori gable figure of Tüwhakairiora, purchased by founder M. H. de Young from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park, will add to visitors’ understanding of the Pacific histories, beliefs, and art that inspired Gauguin and captured his imagination. (Tüwhakairiora was an ancestor who avenged the death of his grandfather and became a leader of all the peoples of New Zealand’s northeast coast of North Island in the seventeenth century.)

“It is exciting to bring so many Gauguin works to San Francisco,” says exhibition curator Christina Hellmich, curator in charge of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “I am pleased that we can highlight some lesser-known aspects of his life, including his wife’s critical role in his career, and offer contemporary perspectives through a new video installation. The striking works of Māori, Marquesan, and Tahitian art from our own collection will allow visitors to learn about Gauguin’s fervent interest in the art and spirituality of Oceania.”

Among many of Gauguin’s paintings are subjects believed to depict Indigenous Māhu, or Tahitian “third gender” individuals. In Sāmoa, the equivalent is known as a Fa’afafine, an indigenous queer minority considered to be gifted in the spirit of more than one gender. Sāmoa-based interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara has been commissioned to create a new video work that will debut with this exhibition. Filmed in Upolu Island Sāmoa, her piece, entitled First Impressions: Paul Gauguin, shows a group of Fa’afafine friends discussing works that Gauguin created during his time in the Pacific.
"The Glyptotek contains one of the world’s finest collections of Gauguin’s works,” adds Christine Buhl Andersen, Director of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. “For us it is of crucial significance that the collection is put into new contexts and thus remains vital and relevant. This is the case here where two museums have combined their potential and worked together curatorially, thus creating an original exhibition. We at the Glyptotek have enjoyed an excellent collaboration with the de Young museum and we look forward to experiencing the public’s reception of the exhibition when it opens in San Francisco.”

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey is organized by Christina Hellmich, curator in charge of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and co-organized by Line Clausen Pedersen, curator at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

The exhibition will be on view at the de Young museum from November 17, 2018, through April 7, 2019, and then travel to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.


by Christina Hellmich (Author), Line Clausen Pedersen (Author), Max Hollein (Contributor)

This dazzling book showcases dozens of Paul Gauguin's most celebrated works and presents a new consideration of the artist's relationships.

This vibrant examination of Paul Gauguin's life and work features more than fifty pieces from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek collection in Copenhagen, including paintings, wood carvings, and ceramics along with Oceanic art and Gauguin's works on paper from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's permanent collections. Each piece is reproduced in exquisite detail, offering a superb opportunity to enjoy Gauguin's groundbreaking use of color, line, and form. Essays examine Gauguin's relationships and reveal the struggles, indulgences, awakenings, and betrayals of his personal and professional life. Other essays provide new insights into Gauguin's travels to the far reaches of the French colonial empire in the Pacific and explore his cultural identity, sexuality, and spirituality. Beautifully designed to complement Gauguin's extraordinary oeuvre, this book offers a refreshing take on an artist whose life and work continue to fascinate to the present day.

    The Color of the Moon


    Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY
    February 9-May 12, 2019

    James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
    June 1-September 8, 2019


    Oscar Florianus Bluemner (American, born in Germany, 1867-1938).  Moon Radiance, 1927.  Watercolor with gum coating on hot pressed off-white wove paper laid down by the artist to thick wood panel.  Collection of Karen and Kevin Kennedy.

    Oscar Florianus Bluemner (American, born in Germany, 1867-1938). Moon Radiance, 1927. Watercolor with gum coating on hot pressed off-white wove paper laid down by the artist to thick wood panel. Collection of Karen and Kevin Kennedy.
     The moon—its face, color, and enduring myth—threads through the tapestry of American landscape painting, holding timeless allure for artists everywhere. This softly glowing orb has inspired countless works of art since the first humans looked up at the skies and saw its cratered face. The experience of contemplating the moon is universal to the human experience. It unites us in philosophical questions about our own place in the world.

    Arthur Dove (American, 1880-1946).  Moon, 1935.  Oil on canvas.  Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.  Gift of Barney A.  Ebsworth, 2000.39.1.

    Arthur Dove (American, 1880-1946). Moon, 1935. Oil on canvas. Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Gift of Barney A. Ebsworth, 2000.39.1.
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    • George Inness (American, 1825-1894). Winter Moonlight (Christmas Eve), 1866. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Montclair Art Museum. Museum purchase; Lang Acquisition Fund, 1948.29.

    Next winter, the Hudson River Museum, in Yonkers, New York, presents a stunning exhibition devoted to the allure of the moon for American painters, whose art has reflected the eternal fascination with our closest celestial body. It is the first major museum examination of the moon as it relates to the story of the American nocturne, as it developed from the early 1820s through the late 1960s.

    Frederic Edwin Church, Moonrise (The Rising Moon), January – March, 1865. Oil on canvas, 10 x 17 inches. 

    The exhibition features more than 50 works of art, highlighting key painters who depicted the moon, from the early 19th-century masterpieces of Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, who embraced a kind of longing Romanticism that the astronomical body symbolized, to late works by famed illustrator Norman Rockwell, represented by his depictions of a long-held romantic yearning finally fulfilled–America’s triumphant lunar landing in 1969. All of the works in the exhibition underscore how the Romantic idea of the moon held an inexorable pull for artists, and was central to its depiction of landscape, a subject of ongoing engagement at the Museum.

    The Color of the Moon will premiere at the Hudson River Museum on February 8, 2019 and run through May 12, followed by a summer 2019 showing at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which has partnered with the Hudson River Museum to organize the exhibition.  

    The Color of the Moon reveals the long and enduring relationship between art and lunar science.The exhibition coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when American astronauts traveled across the skies to step onto the pitted surface of the moon in July 1969. Even before that historic moment, much scientific and aesthetic debate revolved around the question: What color is the moon? Artists continued their own explorations despite public disappointment when astronauts reported the rocks and dust were grayish brown. The Hudson River Museum, which has the only public planetarium in Westchester County and is dedicated to exploring the relationship between the arts and science, is poised as an ideal venue to explore this subject.

    Several works from the Museum’s collection will be featured in The Color of the Moon, including  

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    The Burning Ship by Albert Bierstadt.

    Other major artists represented through loans include Jasper Francis CropseyFrederic ChurchAlbert BierstadtSusie M. BarstowGeorge InnessEdward BannisterRalph BlakelockWinslow HomerChilde HassamArthur DoveEdward SteichenOscar BluemnerMarguerite ZorachJoseph Cornell, and Jamie Wyeth.

    Major lenders include the National Gallery of ArtSmithsonian American Art MuseumThe New-York Historical SocietyCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design MuseumYale University Art GalleryOlana State Historic SitePennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Delaware Art Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Francis Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, along with works from private collections.


    The Hudson River Museum will co-publish a fully-illustrated, 200-page catalog with Fordham University Pressand the Michener Art Museum. Authors include co-curators Laura Vookles (Chair, Curatorial Department, Hudson River Museum) and Bartholomew F. Bland (Executive Director, Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York), as well as Theodore W. Barrow (Assistant Curator, Hudson River Museum), Stella Paul (author of Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Art), and Melissa Martens Yaverbaum (Executive Director, Council of American Jewish Museums).

    Themes explored in the essays will include our eternal fascination with the appearance of the moon and the myths it inspired; the moonlit landscapes of the Hudson River School; the moody moon of the Gilded Age; the allure of our lunar neighbor for early Modernists; and how the race for the moon transformed its appearance in popular culture.

    See a similar current exhibition here:

    Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment

    Oct. 13, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

    Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts 
    Feb. 2-May 5, 2019

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas
    May 25–Sept. 9, 2019

    Albert Bierstadt, American, 1830–1902, Mount Adams, Washington, 1875.  Oil on canvas.  Gift of Mrs.  Jacob N.  Beam.
    Albert Bierstadt, American, 1830–1902, Mount Adams, Washington, 1875. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Jacob N. Beam.(Princeton University Art Museum)

    This fall, the story of our changing relationship with the natural world will be comprehensively told through a groundbreaking exhibition encompassing three centuries of American art. Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment presents more than 120 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, videos and works of decorative art, from the colonial period to the present, exploring for the first time how American artists of different traditions and backgrounds have both reflected and shaped environmental understanding while contributing to the development of a modern ecological consciousness. 
           This sweeping exhibition engages a wide range of genres and historical contexts – from colonial furniture to the art of Jeffersonian natural science, from Hudson River landscape painting to Native American basketry, from Dust Bowl regionalism to modernist abstraction and postwar environmental activism – highlighting the evolving ecological implications of subjects and contexts of creation as well as artistic materials and techniques. The result is a major reinterpretation of American art that examines both iconic masterpieces and rarely seen objects through a lens uniting art historical interpretation with environmental history, scientific analysis and the dynamic field of ecocriticism.

    Nature’s Nation advances a new approach to understanding and interpreting American art of the past three centuries, opening up rich avenues of engagement with both celebrated and less familiar works of art,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “At a time when the question of our relationship with the natural world is so much on our minds, Nature’s Nation positions the museum as a crucial site for close looking, conversation and exchange on questions that matter both to our identities as Americans and to our future.”

           The exhibition is the culmination of years of innovative research by co-curators Karl Kusserow, the John Wilmerding Curator of American Art at the Princeton University Art Museum, and Alan C. Braddock, the Ralph H. Wark Associate Professor of Art History and American Studies at William & Mary. To help rethink American art history in environmental terms, they have selected works by more than 100 artists, including John James Audubon, George Bellows, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Thomas Eakins, Theaster Gates, Winslow Homer, Louisa Keyser, Dorothea Lange, Ana Mendieta, Thomas Moran, Isamu Noguchi, Georgia O’Keeffe, Maya Lin, Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Willson Peale, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexis Rockman, Robert Smithson, Carleton Watkins and Andrew Wyeth. 

           Nature’s Nation begins with an introductory gallery, where iconic paintings by 

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    Albert Bierstadt (Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite, ca. 1871-73) 
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    and Thomas Moran (Lower Falls, Yellowstone Park, 1893) are displayed alongside works by Valerie Hegarty (Fallen Bierstadt, 2007) and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Browning of America, 2000) that revise and complicate earlier perceptions of the pristine American environment. The fifteen diverse works in the introduction set the stage for the following sections, which together reveal our evolving sense of what nature means and how we as humans relate to it.

           The first, Colonization and Empire, focuses on images of the young Republic’s ideas about natural order, as seen in 

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    Charles Willson Peale’s renowned The Artist in His Museum (1822), before exploring picturesque and sublime representations of the land in paintings such as 

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    Thomas Cole’s Home in the Woods (1847), and Americans’ plans for nature’s transformation, as in Frederick Law Olmsted’s enormous Central Park “Greensward Plan” (1858).
     A second section, Industrialization and Conservation, explores work that addresses the tensions between progress and preservation, including complex representations of consumption and its effects by 

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    Winslow Homer (Prisoners from the Front, 1866), 

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    Thomas Anshutz (The Ironworker’s Noontime, 1880) and a Standing Rock Sioux artist (a stretched buffalo robe of 1882). 

           Finally, Ecology and Environmentalism considers art of the 20th and 21st centuries that reimagines ecology on a global scale through expansive techniques and media. Among the works featured are 


    Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic The Lawrence Tree (1929) and Robert Rauschenberg’s lithographic collage announcing the first Earth Day (1970).
         “The Museum is grateful to the many institutions and funders who enthusiastically supported this innovative new vision of North American history and culture,” Steward said. Lenders include 70 eminent national collections, both private and public, as well as works drawn from Princeton’s extensive holdings.

    Reframing more than 300 years of diverse artistic practice in North America, from the colonial period to the present, Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment examines for the first time how American artists have both reflected and shaped environmental understanding while contributing to the emergence of a modern ecological consciousness.

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    Sanford Robinson Gifford, Hunter Mountain, Twilight, 1866. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.57

    The exhibition traces evolving ideas about the environment – and our place within it – from colonial beliefs about natural theology and biblical dominion through the 19th-century notion of manifest destiny to the emergence of modern ecological ethics. This pioneering exhibition will gather approximately 125 works of art by a broad range of artists – including iconic masterpieces as well as rare and seldom exhibited works – and interpret them through an interdisciplinary lens that unites art and environmental history with scientific analysis, using ecocriticism as a tool to see the history of American art in a new light.

    Organized by the Princeton University Art Museum, the exhibition is cocurated by Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding curator of American art at the Princeton University Art Museum; and Alan C. Braddock, Ralph H. Wark associate professor of art history and American studies at the College of William and Mary.

    Nature’s Nation will consist of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, videos and works of decorative art gathered from more than 70 eminent collections across the United States as well as from Princeton’s own extensive holdings. The exhibition will be arranged in three chronological eras marked by shifting human conceptions of the natural world and increasing artistic awareness of environmental change.

    Among the more than 100 artists featured in the exhibition will be John James Audubon, George Bellows, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Thomas Eakins, Theaster Gates, Winslow Homer, Louisa Keyser, Dorothea Lange, Ana Mendieta, Thomas Moran, Isamu Noguchi, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Willson Peale, Sarah Miriam Peale, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexis Rockman, Robert Smithson and Carleton Watkins.

    A major 448-page catalogue, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition. In addition to a series of expansive narrative essays by the curators, the publication features contributions by 13 distinguished scholars and artists in a variety of fields, including art historians Rachael DeLue and Robin Kelsey, artists Mark Dion and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and environmental theorists Timothy Morton and Rob Nixon.

    Saturday, September 8, 2018

    ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection

    ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September 22 through December 30, 2018. Featuring more than 40 richly imaginative, quirky, and thought-provoking paintings, sculptures, photographs, and sketches, ReTooled celebrates the prevalence of tools in our lives with art that magically transforms utilitarian objects into fanciful works that speak of beauty, insight, and wit.

    The museum’s signature fall exhibition, ReTooled profiles 28 visionary artists from the Hechinger Collection and includes major artists such as Arman, Richard Estes, Howard Finster, Red Grooms, Jacob Lawrence, Fernand Léger and H.C. Westermann; photographers Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans; as well as pop artists Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, and James Rosenquist.

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    "Carpenters" lithograph by Jacob Lawrence in the Bruce Museum exhibition"ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection." photo: Joel Breger

    Some of these artists portray tools with reverence to emphasize their purity of design, while others disfigure and transform implements to highlight their obsolescence in today’s world of glass, steel, and technology.

    These works were brought together in the 1980s by John Hechinger, owner of a hardware store chain in the Mid-Atlantic region. Hechinger is often credited as one of the major figures in the transformation of the neighborhood hardware store to the “do-it-yourself” home improvement business. His intent to beautify a new company headquarters led to the acquisition of a tool-inspired collection of diverse 20th-century art.

    “I felt that if I could show my associates how so many artists had celebrated the handsaw or the hammer or the paint brush, they would be aware of the intrinsic beauty of the simple objects that they handled by the tens of thousands,” said Hechinger. “They were not only the focus of their workdays, but our company’s very lifeblood.”

    Hechinger later donated his collection to International Arts & Artists, a non-profit arts service organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, art institutions and the public.
    Curated by Jared Packard-Winkler, ReTooled presents the works in four sections: Objects of Beauty, Material Illusions, Instruments of Satire, and Tools: An Extension of Self.
    In Objects of Beauty, artists celebrate the simplicity and purity of distilled design, emphasizing the beauty of soft curves, harsh cut lines, and the dull shine of hardy iron. Walker Evans’ photograph of a mundane tool in Wrench (1965) encourages viewers to find beauty in the wrench’s slim lines and economy of form, while Jim Dine’s series of nine works, Toolbox (1966), places screen print images of tools in ascetic, yet energetic compositions. These artists work to reveal the rare vulnerable beauty ofeveryday tools taken out of their work environments.

    Material Illusions presents tools through a distorted lens -- artists reimage tools and render them useless in unusual contexts to question their functionality. In Richard Adams’ sculpture Lathe (1979), he subverts the viewer’s initial view of a lathe by constructing the sculpture out of maple wood.

    F.L. Wall’s Summer Tool (1983) presents an oak-fashioned lawn mower cutting each blade of grass at a uniform height, perhaps offering a critical response to our industrial society’s propensity to
    homogenization. This collection highlights the distance growing between modern society and the simple tools that used to be synonymous with American progress, now replaced by the computer and other technological tools.

    In Instruments of Satire, artists play with tools by injecting sharp humor and wit into their works.

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    In James Rosenquist’s Trash Can in the Grass-Calix Krater (1978), he presents a simple trash can adorned with ancient Greek imagery to elevate it to a vessel from antiquity.

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    Claes Oldenburg, Three Way Plug, 1965, offset lithograph with airbrush. 39 x 31½ x 1 inches.
    photo: Joel Breger

    Claes Oldenburg drastically heroizes an everyday object in Three-way Plug (1965) by rendering the plug with a larger-than-life status that verges on the comical. These representations of tools remind viewers that the essence of art is the joy of creation.

    In Tools: An Extension of Self, artists illustrate how tools have shaped the American consciousness by acting as our surrogate limbs and executing the actions that our vulnerable bodies cannot. Thus, the American core value of self-improvement is intertwined with these tools that create our capacity to create change and realize far-fetched visions. Howard Finster’s Saw/Mountains of People Use Tools (1990) pushes forth the idea that tools advanced human civilization by scrawling “tools came first and America was built second” on a Stanley Thrift saw.

    In The Slob (1965), H.C. Westermann imbues a hammer with the personality of its wielder, emphasizing the idea of the tool as an extension of human action.

    ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection was organized by International Arts and Artists, Washington, DC. Gift of John and June Hechinger.

    Lots more information and images:



    1 September 2018 to 20 January 2019


    Vincent van Gogh, Self-portrait, April-June 1887. Detail. Coll. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

    For the first time in 50 years

    It is more than 50 years since the Danish public has been able to experience a large exhibition devoted exclusively to van Gogh’s paintings and drawings. In a unique collaboration with the Kröller-Müller Museum, The Netherlands, ARKEN now open its doors for a wide-ranging exhibition of van Gogh’s works with a focus on the relations among art, humanity, nature and religion.

    ’The guy with the ear”

    Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) is one of the most famous artists to have walked this earth. Notorious for having cut his ear off. Loved for his moving paintings and letters, which give us intimate insights into his life and thoughts. For Van Gogh life and art were a hard struggle. Yet he was able to create an original artistic idiom that demonstrates his profound belief in the cosmic unity of man and nature. ARKEN’s exhibition shows with 28 paintings and 11 drawings how his depictions of hard-working farm labourers and captivating landscapes in Arles were meant to express the divine in nature and mankind at a time of new departures in society when traditional faith was coming under pressure from modern philosophy and science.


    Vincent van Gogh, Still-life with a Plate of Onions, 1890. Coll. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo
    Vincent van Gogh in a letter to Theo van Gogh,  July 1882


    Van Gogh’s landscapes are not charming postcards frozen in time. Everything lives and moves. The earth swells, the trees breathe and the heavenly bodies follow their courses.

    Vincent van Gogh, The Ravine, 1889. Courtesy Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo.

    From childhood Van Gogh was preoccupied with the close study of nature. All his life he wandered on foot through the landscapes he lived in, and as an artist he preferred to paint under the open sky. Over time Van Gogh developed a quite personal Christian faith. He did not attend church. He found the divine outside the church in everything living, from a dandelion in seed to the intense sea of beams of the sinking sun.


    In a letter from 1889 Van Gogh wrote: “I plough on my canvases as the peasants do in their fields.” When Van Gogh ploughed the canvas with his brush, he immersed himself in the loam, the olive groves and the quiet corners in the rambling garden of the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy.

    Detail of Vincent van Gogh, The Garden of the Asylum at Saint Rémy, 1889. Courtesy of the Kröller-Müller.

    He asked himself how he could make himself useful – like the diligent peasant – as an artist in the world. The answer for him was to sow the divine message of beauty in the world through his painting. In The Sower Van Gogh gathers his ideas about the artist as someone who shows us the spiritual depths of nature by creating beautiful depictions of it. The sower is the protagonist of the Biblical parable about spreading the word of God. At the same time he is a quite ordinary peasant who works to the rhythm of nature.


    Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, 1888. Coll. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

    The exhibition has been organised in association with the Kröller-Müller Museum, The Netherlands


    Detail of Vincent van Gogh, Pine Trees at Sunset, 1889. Courtesy of the Kröller-Müller Museum.

    Robert Delaunay and The City of Lights

    Kunsthaus Zürich 

    From 31 August to 18 November 2018 



    Robert Delaunay, The Runners, 1924–1925. Oil on canvas, 153 x 203 cm. Private collection.
    This most comprehensive exhibition in Switzerland to date on Robert Delaunay (1885–1941) pays homage to the artist’s devotion to his native city, Paris. As a passionate advocate and practitioner of abstract art, Delaunay became a central figure within the Parisian avant-garde in the first decades of the 20th century.

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    Air, Iron, and Water. Study for a mural,” 1936–1937, Robert Delaunay, Gouache on paper and wood, 47 x 74.5 cm.Albertina, Wien. Batliner Collection

     Some 80 paintings, works on paper, films and photographs that explore his favourite themes – aviation, sport and the use of colour in art – will introduce you to Delaunay’s art and his artistic milieu. 

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    Robert Delaunay, Self-Portrait, 1909

    Oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm

    Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art

    moderne - Centre de création industrielle,

    Paris. Donation Sonia Delaunay et Charles

    Delaunay, 1964

    Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI,

    Dist. RMN-Grand Palais

    / Philippe Migeat

    Robert Delaunay was fascinated by technological inventions, the Eiffel Tower and photography. In his depiction of the Eiffel Tower, Robert Delaunay combined the dynamism of the vibrant metropolis with the intensity of his colour studies. 

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    Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower and

    Gardens, Champ de Mars, 1922

    Oil on canvas, 178.1 x 170.4 cm

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,

    Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.,

    The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest, 1981

    Photo: Lee Stalsworth

    André Kertész, Eiffel Tower, 1929

    Gelatine silver print, 27.5 x 34.4 cm

    Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris

    Photo: Musée Carnavalet / Parisienne

    de Photographie

    © RMN-Grand Palais – Gestion droit


    Modern technology, speed and movement dominate Robert Delaunay’s approach to life. In 1892 Paris receives electric street lighting, illuminating the night as if it were day, while in 1909 Blériot makes the first powered flight across the Channel. This was the backdrop for Delaunay’s investigations into how certain colour contrasts affect the eye and the creation of his ‘electric prisms’ and ‘circular forms’ – the earliest abstract images. 

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    Robert Delaunay, Study for «La Ville»,


    Oil on canvas, 88.3 x 124.5 cm

    Tate: Presented by the Friends of the

    Tate Gallery 1958
    Photo: © Tate, London, 2018

    Robert Delaunay, The City, 1911. Oil on canvas, 57 1/16 x 44 1/8 inches (145 x 112 cm)

    Robert Delaunay b. 1885, Paris; d. 1941, Montpellier, France
    The City 1911 Oil on canvas 57 1/16 x 44 1/8 inches (145 x 112 cm)
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift

    The meeting of Sonia Delaunay and the poet Blaise Cendrars led to a fruitful collaboration and one of the most beautiful artists’ books, ‘La prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France’ (‘Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Joan of France’), in which text, the rhythm of language, colours and forms blend into a unique ‘simultaneous’ whole.

    For the exhibition  Robert Delaunay and The City of Lights , major museums and private collections in Europe and America have assisted Simonetta Fraquelli, a freelance curator specializing in early 20th-century Parisian art, by lending some of their Delaunay masterpieces which, for conservation reasons, are rarely permitted to travel. They include the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.   

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    Robert Delaunay, Political Drama, 1914

    Oil and collage on cardboard,

    88.7 x 67.3 cm

    National Gallery of Art, Washington,

    Donation Joseph H. Hazen Foundation

    Robert Delaunay, Portrait of Madame

    Heim, 1926

    Oil on canvas, 120 x 75 cm

    Calouste Gulbenkian Museum / Modern


    Photo: José Manuel Costa Alves

    Robert Delaunay, Saint-Séverin, 1909

    Watercolour and pencil on paper,

    47.8 x 34 cm

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,

    Bequest of Betty Bartlett McAndrew

    Robert Delaunay, The Eiffel Tower

    and the Airplane, 1925

    Oil on canvas, 155 x 95 cm

    Courtesy Galerie Le Minotaure,


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    Robert Delaunay, Disc (The First Disc),


    Oil on canvas, diameter 124 cm

    Esther Grether Familiensammlung

    Robert Delaunay, Windows Open

    Simultaneously (1st Part, 3rd Motif),


    Oil on canvas, 45.7 x 37.5 cm

    Tate: purchase 1967

    Photo: © Tate, London, 2018

    Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1926–28. Conté crayon on paper, 24 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches (62.3 x 47.5 cm)

    Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1926–1928

    Conté crayon on paper, 62.3 x 47.5 cm

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New

    York. The Hilla Rebay Collection

    Robert Delaunay, Rythmes: Joie

    de Vivre, 1930

    Oil on canvas, 146 x 130 cm

    Private collection



    Robert Delaunay and the City of Lights (English Edition) Kunsthaus Zürich

    A scholarly and lavishly illustrated catalogue in English and German accompanies the exhibition. It includes newly commissioned essays by Céline Chicha-Castex, Nancy Ireson, Anne de Mondenard and Simonetta Fraquelli (exhibition curator), contributing to the critical re-evaluation of this remarkable artist.

    Robert Delaunay and The City of Lights will recognize Delaunay’s unwavering commitment to color in painting to convey form, depth, light and movement, while highlighting how the modern metropolis of Paris often provided the inspiration for his imagery and pictorial research. In addition to presenting works from of his most famous series of paintings, such as that of the Eiffel Tower, the book also includes portraits Delaunay made of his artistic milieu during the 1920s. Portraits of the poets Philippe Soupault, Tristan Tzara, and several fashionable socialites, wearing ensembles designed by the artist Sonia Terk-Delaunay, are shown. The newly commissioned texts allow the reader to experience the wide-ranging and prescient nature of Robert Delaunay’s work – exploring the significant themes of movement, technology, sport, and advertising that were to preoccupy him throughout his career.

    Hardcover 22 x 27 cm 176 pages 103 color and 29 b/w ills. English Available ISBN 978-3-86828-885-8\

    Nice article